BEST Trail Runners for Backpacking: During the warmer months of the year, backpacking is a great way to spend your time! You can backpack for a short amount of time by doing a hike in your hometown, or you could plan an expedition with other hikers and backpack for days or weeks at a time.
Our pick for the best trail runner for backpacking is the La Sportiva Men's Ultra Raptor Trail Running Shoe. It is weather-resistant (Gore-Tex sole), offers ankle support, and stabilizes your heel for trail running.
No matter which kind of backpacker you are, you’ll need the perfect pair of shoes to wear!
Table of Contents
- What are trail runners?
- Why should you consider trail runners for backpacking?
- What to look for?
- Best Trail Runners for Backpacking
- Salomon Men’s Speedcross 5 Trail Running
- Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes
- ALTRA Men’s AL0A4PE5 Lone Peak 4
- La Sportiva Men’s Ultra Raptor GTX Trail Running Shoe
- Danner Men’s Mountain 600 4
- La Sportiva Men’s Ultra Raptor Trail Running Shoe
- Adidas Terrex AX3 Hiking Shoe Women’s
- Columbia Men’s Vitesse Multi-sport Performance Shoe
- Adidas Outdoor Women’s Terrex Eastrail Hiking Boot
- ALTRA Men’s ALM1953G Superior 4 Trail Running Shoe
- Key References
What are trail runners?
A trail runner is a type of shoe for backpackers and hikers alike.
There’s an age-old debate about whether to choose hiking boots or trail runners, but each type of shoe provides its benefits. In this guide, we are going to dive into trail runners!
Trail runners are known for being the lighter alternative to hiking boots but are still just as great of a shoe for hiking.
Why should you consider trail runners for backpacking?
For backpacking, you should consider trail runners because they tend to provide more comfort and traction than regular hiking boots. They are also known for having a wider variety of design options, for those of you who care about your fashion sense while backpacking!
What to look for?
When purchasing a pair of trail runners, there are loads of features to look for. Below are the most important ones to consider when trying to find the best pair just for you.
When it comes to backpacking, you’re going to want a pair of shoes that last. Look for a pair of trail runners that are durable, and you won’t have to worry about them falling apart just because you had to backpack through nasty terrain for a day.
You don’t want your toe to be stubbed by every possible rock in your way, do you? No, of course not! A great pair of trail runners will have at least some sort of protection for your foot.
The downside to hiking boots is that they tend to not be flexible. They’re sturdy, which can be useful, but you want a pair of shoes that will be able to quickly move around. Try to find a pair of trail runners that have flexible insoles, which will also add to your comfort and overall hiking experience.
Though this can be more a personal preference, it’s best to try to purchase a pair of shoes that are waterproof or weatherproof. This way, you can hike no matter the weather, and you won’t have to worry about your feet getting soaked. A versatile trail runner is an excellent trail runner!
When backpacking, you don’t want to feel every rock you’re stepping on. You want a shoe that is going to provide comfort with the right level of padding. Many trail runners will come with an exceptional level of comfort, especially with their insoles, so try to find one of those pairs.
Trail runners are known for their traction. They have a lugged sole on the bottom, meaning that they usually have a pattern of some sort that will stop your foot from slipping and sliding while you’re backpacking. Be on the lookout for a shoe with proven traction!
These are all features to heavily consider when purchasing a pair of trail runners for your next outdoor excursion.
Best Trail Runners for Backpacking
Here are the top 10 best trail runners for backpacking on the market place:
Salomon Men’s Speedcross 5 Trail Running
The Salomon Men’s Speedcross 5 Trail Running shoe is a lace-up shoe meant for backpacking.
- This best trail running shoes for hiking features a grip with large lugs, which helps with traction.
- A custom foothold is inside the shoe to ensure that it fits you comfortably.
- The outer fabric of the trail runner is breathable.
- There’s a lightweight midsole on the sneaker’s interior.
- The trail runner was made with technology that allows it to be durable and adhesive.
- Strong traction
- Large lugs on the grip.
- Not waterproof
Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes
The Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoes are a perfect shoe for backpacking, hiking, and running outdoors.
- The shoe is extremely lightweight but protective.
- This sneaker’s bottom features a superior grip, which is useful in all hiking conditions.
- The Salomon Men’s Speedcross 4 Trail Running Shoe has a cushioned sole to provide comfort.
- A pattern on the bottom features sharp lugs to help you not slip while backpacking.
- The trail runner features a custom foothold that gives a snug and unique fit to your foot.
- Sharp lugs
- Monster grips
- Only available in neutral colors.
ALTRA Men’s AL0A4PE5 Lone Peak 4
The Altra 4.5 Trail Running Shoe is an updated version fo Altra’s older trail running shoe.
- This best hiking shoes for wide feet features a contoured footbed for comfort.
- There are canted lugs at the bottom of the shoe to give traction and grip.
- This best altra shoes for hiking has a wide toe width, so your foot feels like it has a lot of extra room.
- Altra 4.5 Trail Running Shoe’s bottom has a pattern specifically designed to ward off debris buildup.
- A mesh material that dries quickly is around the outside of the shoe allows your foot to breathe.
- Contoured footbed
- Breathable mesh
- Might have to size down due to wide footbed.
La Sportiva Men’s Ultra Raptor GTX Trail Running Shoe
The La Sportiva Men’s Ultra Raptor GTX Trail Running Shoe is a Gore-Tex trail runner with extra protection.
- This stability trail running shoes has resistant fabric to provide durability in all situations.
- It’s made with Gore-Tex material, which is super waterproof.
- There’s mesh fabric to help with moisture control and breathability, no matter the weather.
- The bottom of this trail runner features a unique FriXion XT sole, which provides traction and stability.
- This shoe provides ankle support and heel stabilization, which is great for days where you backpack many miles.
- Ankle support
- Gore-Tex material
- Available in one color.
Danner Men’s Mountain 600 4
The Danner Men’s Mountain 600 4.5″ Hiking Boot is a high-top shoe packed with features.
- This stability trail running shoes comes in a wide variety of colors.
- There’s an orthopedic-level footbed that provides excellent comfort.
- This shoe covers the ankle and provides ankle support.
- Heel reinforcement helps with stability.
- The bottom of the shoe has a secure grip for all surfaces.
- Great traction
- Ankle support
- Heel reinforcement
- Many color options
- Suede might make the shoe heavy when wet.
La Sportiva Men’s Ultra Raptor Trail Running Shoe
The La Sportiva Men’s Ultra Raptor Trail Running Shoe is a reinforced sneaker with strong ankle support.
- The shoe’s bottom has excellent traction, which works on both wet and dry surfaces.
- This shoe is made with mesh fabric to help prevent blisters and let your foot air out.
- The Vibram soles allow only a short break-in period.
- There is a reinforced heel that provides strong ankle support.
- A medium fit helps with comfort while backpacking, no matter the distance.
- Short break-in period
- Mesh fabric, prevents blisters.
- Strong traction
- Only available in one color.
Adidas Terrex AX3 Hiking Shoe Women’s
The Adidas Terrex AX3 Hiking Shoe Women’s is a great trail running shoe that comes in a variety of color options.
- This trail runner features a durable rubber outsole that gives a great grip.
- The inside of the Adidas Terrex AX3 Hiking Shoe is cushioned.
- This best adidas hiking shoes are made from abrasion-resistant materials that provide durability.
- The overall weight of the shoe is very lightweight.
- This shoe is flexible yet stable on uneven terrain.
- Flexible yet stable
- Abrasion-resistant fabric
- Run large
Columbia Men’s Vitesse Multi-sport Performance Shoe
The Columbia Men’s Vitesse Multi-sport Performance Shoe is a trail runner with superior comfort.
- This sneaker has a mesh layer that allows breathability.
- The entire shoe is made with lightweight material.
- Versatile traction helps you to feel stable, no matter if you’re inside or outside.
- This shoe was made to be worn in multiple situations, including walking and trail running.
- The inside of the shoe has durability, and it was built to last with high-quality materials.
- Versatile traction
- Lightweight fabric
- Limited color options
Adidas Outdoor Women’s Terrex Eastrail Hiking Boot
The Adidas Outdoor Women’s Terrex Eastrail Hiking Boot is a trail runner with a lot of added benefits.
- The rubber outsole provides a sturdy grip.
- This shoe has extra cushioning on the midsole for comfort.
- There is a lace closure so you can easily adjust the fit.
- Breathable fabric helps with moisture control.
- This sneaker is lightweight, so you don’t feel like you’re lugging extra weight.
- Extra cushioning
- Lace closure
- Runs large
ALTRA Men’s ALM1953G Superior 4 Trail Running Shoe
The Altra Men’s ALM1953G Superior 4 Trail Running Shoe is a sneaker created for train running, trail racing, and backpacking.
- This shoe has a high comfort level with extra cushioning.
- The sneaker is designed in a way that positions your foot naturally.
- This trail runner is very light.
- The shoe’s outsole is made of Altra’s signature MaxTrac rubber, which is sticky.
- There’s a lug pattern on the bottom for traction.
- Sticky grip
- Natural foot positioning
- Long laces
Our top recommendation for the best trail runner for backpacking is the La Sportiva Men's Ultra Raptor Trail Running Shoe. It features weather-resistant sole, provides ankle support, and stabilizes your heel for trail running.
Your backpacking and hiking experience would not be complete without the ultimate pair of trail runners. A pair of these shoes will allow your feet to be more flexible and lightweight compared to your average hiking shoe.
Next time you’re preparing for an outdoor adventure, purchase a pair of trail runners.
- “Merrell | What’s Inside A Hiking Shoe? Blog”. Accessed July 27, 2020. Link.
- “Our Product Ranges | GORE-TEX Brand”. Accessed July 27, 2020. Link.